The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth – formally, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland – was a dual state, a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch, both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. It was one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th– to 17th-century Europe. At its largest territorial extent, in the early 17th century, the Commonwealth covered 400,000 square miles and sustained a multi-ethnic population of 11 million; the Commonwealth was established by the Union of Lublin in July 1569, but the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had been in a de facto personal union since 1386 with the marriage of the Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila, crowned King jure uxoris Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland. The First Partition of Poland in 1772 and the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 reduced the state's size and the Commonwealth collapsed as an independent state following the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.
The Union possessed many features unique among contemporary states. Its political system was characterized by strict checks upon monarchical power; these checks were enacted by a legislature controlled by the nobility. This idiosyncratic system was a precursor to modern concepts of democracy, constitutional monarchy, federation. Although the two component states of the Commonwealth were formally equal, Poland was the dominant partner in the union; the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was marked by high levels of ethnic diversity and by relative religious tolerance, guaranteed by the Warsaw Confederation Act 1573. The Constitution of 1791 acknowledged Catholicism as the "dominant religion", unlike the Warsaw Confederation, but freedom of religion was still granted with it. After several decades of prosperity, it entered a period of protracted political and economic decline, its growing weakness led to its partitioning among its neighbors during the late 18th century. Shortly before its demise, the Commonwealth adopted a massive reform effort and enacted the May 3 Constitution—the first codified constitution in modern European history and the second in modern world history.
The official name of the state was The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Latin term was used in international treaties and diplomacy. In the 17th century and it was known as the Most Serene Commonwealth of Poland, the Commonwealth of the Polish Kingdom, or the Commonwealth of Poland, its inhabitants referred to it in everyday speech as the "Rzeczpospolita". Western Europeans simply called it Poland and in most past and modern sources it is referred to as the Kingdom of Poland, or just Poland; the terms: the Commonwealth of Poland and the Commonwealth of Two Nations were used in the Reciprocal Guarantee of Two Nations. The English term'Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth' and German'Polen-Litauen' are seen as renderings of the Commonwealth of Two Nations variant. Other names include the Republic of Nobles and the First Commonwealth, the latter common in Polish historiography. Poland and Lithuania underwent an alternating series of wars and alliances during the 14th century and early 15th century.
Several agreements between the two were struck before the permanent 1569 Union of Lublin. This agreement was one of the signal achievements of Sigismund II Augustus, last monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty. Sigismund believed, his death in 1572 was followed by a three-year interregnum during which adjustments were made to the constitutional system. The Commonwealth reached its Golden Age in the early 17th century, its powerful parliament was dominated by nobles who were reluctant to get involved in the Thirty Years' War. The Commonwealth was able to hold its own against Sweden, the Tsardom of Russia, vassals of the Ottoman Empire, launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors. In several invasions during the Time of Troubles, Commonwealth troops entered Russia and managed to take Moscow and hold it from 27 September 1610 to 4 November 1612, when they were driven out after a siege. Commonwealth power began waning after a series of blows during the following decades. A major rebellion of Ukrainian Cossacks in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth began in 1648.
It resulted in a Ukrainian request, under the terms of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, for protection by the Russian Tsar. Russian annexation of part of Ukraine supplanted Polish influence; the other blow to the Commonwealth was a Swedish invasion in 1655, known as the Deluge, supported by troops of Transylvanian Duke George II Rákóczi a
Mehmed IV was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1648 to 1687. He came to the throne at the age of six. Mehmed went on to become the second longest reigning sultan in Ottoman history after Suleiman the Magnificent. While the first and last years of his reign were characterized by military defeat and political instability, during his middle years he oversaw the revival of the empire's fortunes associated with the Köprülü era. Mehmed IV was known by contemporaries as a pious ruler, was referred to as gazi, or "holy warrior" for his role in the many conquests carried out during his long reign. Under his reign the empire reached the height of its territorial expansion in Europe. From a young age he developed a keen interest in hunting, for which he is known as avcı. In 1687 Mehmed was overthrown by soldiers disenchanted by the course of the ongoing War of the Holy League, he subsequently retired to Edirne, where he resided until his natural death in 1693. Born at Topkapı Palace, Constantinople, in 1642, Mehmed was the son of Sultan Ibrahim by Valide Sultan Turhan Hatice, a concubine of either Russian or Ukrainian origin, the grandson of Kösem Sultan of Greek origin.
Soon after his birth, his father and mother quarreled, Ibrahim was so enraged that he tore Mehmed from his mother's arms and flung the infant into a cistern. Mehmed was rescued by the harem servants. However, this left Mehmed with a lifelong scar on his head. Mehmed ascended to the throne in 1648 at the age of six, during a volatile time for the Ottoman dynasty; the empire faced palace intrigues as well as uprisings in Anatolia, the defeat of the Ottoman navy by the Venetians outside the Dardanelles, food shortages leading to riots in Constantinople. It was under these circumstances that Mehmed's mother granted Köprülü Mehmed Pasha full executive powers as Grand Vizier. Köprülü took office on 14 September 1656. Mehmed IV presided over an exceptionally stable period of Ottoman history. Mehmed is known as Avcı, "the Hunter". Mehmed's reign is notable for a revival of Ottoman fortunes led by the Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmed and his son Fazıl Ahmed, they regained the Aegean islands from Venice, Crete, during the Cretan War.
They fought successful campaigns against Transylvania and Poland. When Mehmed IV accepted the vassalage of Petro Doroshenko, Ottoman rule extended into Podolia and Right-bank Ukraine, his next vizier, Köprülü Mehmed's adopted son Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa, led campaigns against Russia, conquering Chyhyryn in 1678. He next supported the 1683 Hungarian uprising of Imre Thököly against Austrian rule, marching a vast army through Hungary and besieged Vienna. At the Battle of Vienna on the Kahlenberg Heights, the Ottomans suffered a catastrophic rout by Polish-Lithuanian forces famously led by King John III Sobieski, his allies, notably the Imperial army. On 12 September 1683 the Austrians and their Polish allies under King John III Sobieski took advantage of dissent within the Turkish military command and poor disposition of his troops, winning the Battle of Vienna with a devastating flank attack led by Sobieski's Polish cavalry; the Turks retreated into Hungary, however this was only the beginning of the Great Turkish War, as the armies of the Holy League began their successful campaign to push the Ottomans back to the Balkans.
After the second Battle of Mohács, the Ottoman Empire fell into deep crisis. There was a mutiny among the Ottoman troops; the commander and Grand Vizier, Sarı Süleyman Pasha, became frightened that he would be killed by his own troops and fled from his command, first to Belgrade and to Istanbul. When the news of the defeat and the mutiny arrived in Istanbul in early September, Abaza Siyavuş Pasha was appointed as the commander and soon afterward as the Grand Vizier. However, before he could take over his command, the whole Ottoman Army had disintegrated and the Ottoman household troops started to return to their base in Istanbul under their own lower-rank officers. Sarı Süleyman Pasha was executed, Sultan Mehmed IV appointed the commander of Istanbul Straits, Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, as the Grand Vizier's regent in Istanbul. Fazıl Mustafa made consultations with the leaders of the army that existed and the other leading Ottoman statesmen. After these, on 8 November 1687 it was decided to depose Sultan Mehmed IV and to enthrone his brother Suleiman II as the new Sultan.
Mehmed was deposed by the combined forces of Yeğen Osman and the Janissaries. Mehmed was imprisoned in Topkapı Palace. However, he was permitted to leave the Palace from time to time, as he died in Edirne Palace in 1693, he was buried near his mother's mosque in Constantinople. In 1691, a couple of years before his death, a plot was discovered in which the senior clerics of the empire planned to reinstate Mehmed on the throne in response to the ill health and imminent death of his successor, Suleiman II, his favourite harem girl was Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan, a slave girl and his wife. She was taken prisoner at Rethymno on the island of Crete, their two sons, Mustafa II and Ahmed III, became Ottoman Sultans during 1695–1703 and 1703–1730 respectively. ConsortsMehmed had three consorts: Gülnuş Sultan.
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur
The Ottoman dynasty was made up of the members of the imperial House of Osman known as the Ottomans. According to Ottoman tradition, the family originated from the Kayı tribe branch of the Oghuz Turks, under Osman I in northwestern Anatolia in the district of Bilecik Söğüt; the Ottoman dynasty, named after Osman I, ruled the Ottoman Empire from c. 1299 to 1922. During much of the Empire's history, the sultan was the absolute regent, head of state, head of government, though much of the power shifted to other officials such as the Grand Vizier. During the First and Second Constitutional Eras of the late Empire, a shift to constitutional monarchy was enacted, with the Grand Vizier taking on a prime ministerial role as head of government and heading an elected General Assembly; the imperial family was deposed from power and the sultanate was abolished on 1 November 1922 during the Turkish War of Independence. The Republic of Turkey was declared the following year; the living members of the dynasty were sent into exile as personae non gratae, though some have been allowed to return and live as private citizens in Turkey.
In its current form, the family is known as the Osmanoğlu family. The Ottoman dynasty operated under several basic premises: that the Sultan governed the empire’s entire territory, that every male member of the dynastic family was hypothetically eligible to become Sultan, that only one person at a time could be the Sultan; such rules were standard for monarchic empires of the time. The certain processes through which men rose to the Sultanate, were specific to the Ottoman Empire. To go into greater detail about these processes, the history of succession between Sultans can be divided into two eras: the period between the reign of Orhan, the first person to inherit the Ottoman sultanate, the reign of Ahmed I; the succession process during the first period was dominated by violence and intra-familial conflict, in which the various sons of the deceased Sultan fought until only one remained alive and, inherited the throne. This tradition was known as fratricide in the Ottoman Empire, but may have evolved from tanistry, a similar succession procedure that existed in many Turco-Mongolian dynasties predating the Ottomans.
Sons of the Sultan were given provincial territories to govern until the Sultan’s death, at which point they would each vie for the throne. Each son had to, according to historian H. Erdem Cipa, “demonstrate that his fortune was superior to the fortunes of his rivals,” a demonstration that took the form of military accomplishment and ruthlessness; this violence was not considered unexpected or unusual. As Cipa has noted, the Ottoman words for “successor” and “conflict” share the same Arabic root, indeed, all but one of the successions in this 200-year period involved a resolution by combat. Over time, the combat became prevalent and recognized after a Jannissary uprising negated Murad II’s attempt to abdicate the throne peacefully to his son, Mehmed II, in 1444. During the eventual reign of Mehmed II, fratricide was legalized as an official practice. During the second period, the tradition of fratricide was replaced by a simpler and less violent procedure. Starting with the succession from Ahmed I to Mustafa I in 1617, the Ottoman throne was inherited by the eldest male family member — not son — of the Sultan, regardless of how many eligible family members were alive.
The change in succession procedure was instigated by numerous factors, including fratricide’s decline in popularity among Ottoman elites and Ahmed I’s decision not to kill Mustafa when inheriting the throne from Mehmed III in 1603. With the door opened for a change in policy, a political debate arose between those who supported unrestricted Sultan privilege and those who supported a stronger, centralized law system that would supersede the Sultan’s power to an extent, historian Baki Tezcan has argued that the latter faction — with the help of influential grand mufti "Sa’deddinzade Es’ad" — was able to prevail in this instance; the blood-free succession from Ahmed I to Mustafa I in 1617 “provided a reference for the eventual stabilization of the rule of Ottoman succession, the regulation of which by an outside force was in effect a constitutional check on the dynastic prerogative,” Tezcan has written. The precedent set in 1617 stuck, as the eldest living family member inherited the throne in each of the following 21 successions, with few instances of a son inheriting the throne.
From the fourteenth through the late sixteenth centuries, the Ottomans practiced open succession – something historian Donald Quataert has described as "survival of the fittest, not eldest, son." During their father's lifetime, all adult sons of the reigning sultan obtained provincial governorships. Accompanied and mentored by their mothers, they would gather supporters while ostensibly following a Ghazi ethos. Upon the death of the reigning sultan, his sons would fight amongst themselves until one emerged triumphant. A prince's proximity to Constantinople improved his chances of succession because he would hear of his father's death and declare himself Sultan first. A sultan could thus hint at his preferred successor by giving a favourite son a closer governorship. Bayezid II, for ins
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
Patrona Halil, was the instigator of a mob uprising in 1730 which replaced Sultan Ahmed III with Mahmud I and ended the Tulip period. Halil was born to an Albanian family in Hrupishta, a village in the Bitola vilayet, he became a Janissary and after joining a Janissary rebellion in Niš and leading one in 1720 in Vidin, he moved to the capital. He was known to have engaged in petty trade and crafts like working as a hammam attendant. Halil was a former sailor, he spent much of his time at meyhanes of Galata. Halil was known as Horpeşteli Arnavut Halil after his place of birth and ethnicity but his Albanian compatriots called him Patrona, his followers were 12,000 janissaries Albanians. For weeks after the revolt, the empire was in the hands of the insurgents. Patrona Halil rode with the new sultan to the Mosque of Eyub where the ceremony of girding Mahmud I with the Sword of Osman was performed. A Greek butcher, named Yanaki, had given credit to Patrona and had lent him money during the three days of the insurrection.
Patrona showed his gratitude by compelling the Divan to make Yanaki Hospodar of Moldavia. Yanaki however never took charge of this office; the Khan of the Crimea assisted the Grand Vizier, the Mufti and the Aga of the Janissaries in putting down the rebellion. Patrona was killed in the sultan's presence after a Divan in which he had commanded that war be declared against Russia, his Greek friend, 7,000 of those who had supported him were put to death. The jealousy which the officers of the Janissaries felt towards Patrona, their readiness to aid in his destruction, facilitated the exertions of Mahmud I's supporters in putting an end to the rebellion. Başaran, Betül. Selim III, Social Control and Policing in Istanbul at the End of the Eighteenth Century: Between Crisis and Order. BRILL. ISBN 9789004274556. Faroqhi, Suraiya. An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521574556. Jókai, Mór. Halil the Pedlar A Tale of Old Stambul. Tredition. ISBN 9783847209188
Charles XII of Sweden
Charles XII, sometimes Carl or Latinized to Carolus Rex, was the King of Sweden from 1697 to 1718. He belonged to the House of a branch line of the House of Wittelsbach. Charles was the only surviving son of Ulrika Eleonora the Elder, he assumed power, at the age of fifteen. In 1700, a triple alliance of Denmark–Norway, Saxony–Poland–Lithuania and Russia launched a threefold attack on the Swedish protectorate of Holstein-Gottorp and provinces of Livonia and Ingria, aiming to draw advantage as the Swedish Empire was unaligned and ruled by a young and inexperienced king, thus initiating the Great Northern War. Leading the Swedish army against the alliance Charles won multiple victories despite being significantly outnumbered. A major victory over a Russian army some three times the size in 1700 at the Battle of Narva compelled Peter the Great to sue for peace which Charles rejected. By 1706 Charles, now 24 years old, had forced all of his foes into submission including, in that year, a decisively devastating victory by Swedish forces under general Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld over a combined army of Saxony and Russia at the Battle of Fraustadt.
Russia was now the sole remaining hostile power. Charles' subsequent march on Moscow met with initial success as victory followed victory, the most significant of, the Battle of Holowczyn where the smaller Swedish army routed a Russian army twice the size; the campaign ended with disaster when the Swedish army suffered heavy losses to a Russian force more than twice its size at Poltava. Charles had been incapacitated by a wound prior to the battle; the defeat was followed by the Surrender at Perevolochna. Charles spent the following years in exile in the Ottoman Empire before returning to lead an assault on Norway, trying to evict the Danish king from the war once more in order to aim all his forces at the Russians. Two campaigns met with frustration and ultimate failure, concluding with his death at the Siege of Fredriksten in 1718. At the time, most of the Swedish Empire was under foreign military occupation, though Sweden itself was still free; this situation was formalized, albeit moderated in the subsequent Treaty of Nystad.
The result was the end of the Swedish Empire, of its organized absolute monarchy and war machine, commencing a parliamentary government unique for continental Europe, which would last for half a century until royal autocracy was restored by Gustav III. Charles was an exceptionally skilled military leader and tactician as well as an able politician, credited with introducing important tax and legal reforms; as for his famous reluctance towards peace efforts, he is quoted by Voltaire as saying upon the outbreak of the war. With the war consuming more than half his life and nearly all his reign, he never married and fathered no children, he was succeeded by his sister Ulrika Eleonora, who in turn was coerced to hand over all substantial powers to the Riksdag of the Estates and opted to surrender the throne to her husband, who became King Frederick I of Sweden. Charles, like all kings, was styled by a royal title, which combined all his titles into one single phrase; this was: We Charles, by the Grace of God King of Sweden, the Goths and the Vends, Grand Prince of Finland, Duke of Scania, Estonia and Karelia, Lord of Ingria, Duke of Bremen and Pomerania, Prince of Rügen and Lord of Wismar, Count Palatine by the Rhine, Duke in Bavaria, Count of Zweibrücken–Kleeburg, as well as Duke of Jülich and Berg, Count of Veldenz and Ravensberg and Lord of Ravenstein.
The fact that Charles was crowned as Charles XII does not mean that he was the 12th king of Sweden by that name. Swedish kings Erik XIV and Charles IX gave themselves numerals after studying a mythological history of Sweden, he was the 6th King Charles. The non-mathematical numbering tradition continues with the current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, being counted as the equivalent of Charles XVI. Around 1700, the monarchs of Denmark–Norway and Russia united in an alliance against Sweden through the efforts of Johann Reinhold Patkul, a Livonian nobleman who turned traitor when the "great reduction" of Charles XI in 1680 stripped much of the nobility of lands and properties. In late 1699 Charles sent a minor detachment to reinforce his brother-in-law Duke Frederick IV of Holstein-Gottorp, attacked by Danish forces the following year. A Saxon army invaded Swedish Livonia and in February 1700 invested Riga, the most populous city of the Swedish Empire. Russia declared war, but stopped short of an attack on Swedish Ingria until September 1700.
Charles's first campaign was against Denmark–Norway, ruled by his cousin Frederick IV of Denmark, For this campaign Charles secured the support of England and the Netherlands, both maritime powers concerned with Denmark's threats to close the Sound. Leading a force of 8,000 and 43 ships in an invasion of Zealand, Charles compelled the Danes to submit to the Peace of Travendal in August 1700, which indemnified Holstein. Having forced Denmark–Norway to make peace within months, King Charles turned his attention upon the two other powerful neighbors, King August II and Peter the Great of Russia, who had entered the war against him on the same day that Denmark came to terms. Russia had opened their part of the war by inv